These young, fresh wines aren’t just an homage to the French tradition, they’re a style that is finding a new market in the US. Glou glou wines (“glug glug,” but in French), are known for being low in tannins, fruit-forward, and easy-drinking—even chuggable. And they have been one of the biggest trends in wine in recent years. It’s part of a larger movement away from thinking about wine as a fancy, formal, expensive drink, and toward a philosophy of celebrating everyday deliciousness.

Donkey & Goat, a winery in Oakland, California, made a version of Nouveau from a blend of clairette and merlot grapes this year that it has called Nouveau Glou. “It’s like adult Kool Aid,” says Tracey Brandt, who owns the winery with her husband Jared. But that doesn’t mean it’s sweet, she went on to explain: “Because it is a Nouveau, it’s very kind of primary… but then again, ours is quite dry.”

As it is in France, it’s important for California winemakers to celebrate together after the stress of the harvest season, Brandt said, explaining that she and her husband work 18 to 20 hours a day for weeks on end. Ordinaire, a wine bar and shop in Oakland that specializes in natural wines and small producers, throws a West Coast Nouveau party every year to celebrate the end of the harvest.

Some of these American producers are selling their Nouveaus in wine stores, not just in tasting rooms and local wine bars, but it’s in limited quantities, so American Nouveaus may be hard to find. If you see a bottle from the US with a name that is a play on “nouveau” it’s probably worth a try.

It’s also hard to truly celebrate the French Beaujolais Nouveau day if you don’t happen to be in a French winemaking region. A lot of the Beaujolais Nouveau that’s exported is mass produced, and pretty lackluster. Most interesting bottles tend to stay in France, because shipping them in time to arrive by Nouveau Day is often economically impractical. “The Dupeuble that is brought by Kermit Lynch is probably the most widely available one that is well made,” Monroe says.

Rolling barrels of Beaujolais.
Rolling barrels of Beaujolais.
Image: AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

To participate in spirit at least, ask your favorite wine store if they have a Beaujolais Nouveau they truly enjoy, and if they say no or they don’t seem convinced, ask for their lightest, brightest gamay, or to hear about their chillable reds. Most of these wines are going to be relatively inexpensive, topping out at around $25 a bottle—and perfect for glou glou.

And if a light, fruity wine—a “baby,” as Brandt puts it—just isn’t your thing, don’t worry, this moment passes quickly. Drinking Nouveau is supposed to be a fleeting pleasure, not a year-round experience. “We kind of do this for fun,” says Brandt. “I mean truth be told, I wouldn’t sit around and drink Nouveau all winter.”

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